Russia Claims U.N. Human Rights Council – Hosting China, Cuba, and Qatar – Will Lose ‘Trust’ Without It

Russian ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Office, Gennady Gatilov speaks at the opening of a session of the UN Human Rights Council on February 28, 2022 in Geneva. - The raging Ukraine conflict is expected to dominate the UN Human Rights Council session with …

The government of Russia complained in anticipation of a vote to expel it on Thursday that its potential exit from the United Nations Human Rights Council would “discredit” the body and erode public “trust” in it, despite some of the world’s worst human rights violators remaining on the Council even with Russia’s ouster.

The General Assembly, the largest United Nations entity, is set to vote on Thursday to suspend Russia’s position on the Human Rights Council in response to its ongoing war against Ukraine, in which Ukrainian officials have accused Moscow of a variety of human rights abuses against civilians. The Russian government has not denied that the crimes occurred, but claims Ukrainian fighters committed them as a “hoax” to stage “false flag” operations against Russia.

Should Russia leave the Human Rights Council, the world’s worst human rights violators would still enjoy representation on the Council through the presence of China, Cuba, Venezuela, Qatar, Eritrea, Libya, and Pakistan, among others. The United Nations has unquestioningly accepted these nations on the Council and the General Assembly has not, at press time, scheduled any votes on their expulsion.

“If the resolution is adopted, the Westerners will be able to freely impose on the rest of the countries the concepts and their vision of human rights that please them and their Western accomplices,” Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said on Wednesday in comments to the Russian news agency Tass.

“The suspension of Russia’s rights as a member of the Human Rights Council will discredit the principle of the Council’s universality, harm its effectiveness, and completely undermine trust not only in the Human Rights Council, but in the entire UN human rights system,” Gatilov asserted.

Russian ambassador Gennady Gatilov leaves for a break during an urgent debate on the Ukraine conflict at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 3, 2022. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty)

The Russian U.N. representative expressed pride in derailing the objective of the Human Rights Council – to protect human rights around the world – in the name of fighting American values.

“It was our country that throughout the years of the existence of the Human Rights Council resisted attempts by the EU and the United States to use human rights to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states,” Tass quoted Gatilov as saying.

Those who oppose Russia’s place on the Council will need two-thirds of the countries on the General Assembly to vote for Moscow’s ouster on Thursday.

“Western diplomats are confident they have enough support among the 193-member General Assembly to adopt a resolution to suspend Moscow,” Reuters predicted.

Russia’s exit would still leave a long list of some of the world’s most prominent human rights abusers on the Council, most prominently China – arguably the world’s most egregious abuser given that it is currently engaging in genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the occupied region of East Turkistan. The Chinese Communist Party is believed to have forced as many as three million Muslim minority people into concentration camps since 2017, where survivors say they endured indoctrination, beatings, sleep deprivation, gang rape, slavery, and medical testing suggestive of organ harvesting. Outside of the camps, extensive investigations have revealed that the government sells Uyghurs to factories as slaves online and incentivizes companies to replace legitimate employees with Uyghur slaves.

China also regularly represses members of religious and spiritual groups who worship outside of the confines of Communist Party-run sects, including Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners.

A study by researches at the Australian National University (ANU) published this week found extensive evidence that Chinese officials have mandated that surgeons kill inmates – many likely political prisoners – by cutting their hearts and other vital organs out, to be sold at a high profit.

Ukrainian refugees arrive at Haneda Airport on April 5, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan. Twenty Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war that has enveloped their country following Russia’s invasion over one month ago took an offer of asylum in Japan from Japans foreign minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, during his recent trip to Poland. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

Other prime human rights offenders on the Human Rights Council are key Latin American allies Cuba and Venezuela. Cuba’s government is a 63-year-old communist, family-run criminal enterprise that has used its ties to Russia and China to train its brutal state police in silencing, torturing, and killing political dissidents. In Venezuela, the Cuban state apparatus has helped socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro remain in power through similar violence and imposed destitution on citizens.

Representing Africa on the Human Rights Council, Libya has become one of the world’s most vibrant slave markets in the aftermath of President Barack Obama’s decision to back the ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Eastern African state Eritrea faced accusations this year of “war crimes, possible crimes against humanity, and other serious violations against Tigrayan civilians during the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.” The prime minister of Ethiopia accused of genocide against the Tigray people, Abiy Ahmed, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.

The U.S. State Department compiled evidence in 2020 against Benin, another Human Rights Council member, for “unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; serious restrictions on press freedom and unjustified arrests and prosecutions of journalists; lack of investigation of and accountability for violence against women; and child labor.”

Pakistan, also on the Council, is run by an Islamist – Prime Minister Imran Khan – who praised al-Qaeda terrorist chief Osama bin Laden as a “martyr” and has used his platform at the U.N. to demand global blasphemy laws to punish dissident from Islam anywhere in the world.

Qatar, representing the Middle East on the Council, has faced years of accusations of using slaves to build facilities for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup, among other claims of human rights atrocities.

President Donald Trump removed America from the Human Rights Council during his tenure in protest of the atrocities regularly committed by its members. His successor Joe Biden returned America to the forum in 2021.

“We seek to return to the Human Rights Council to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and partners to ensure that this important body lives up to its purpose,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the time. “We do so with determination to listen, learn, and work toward a world in which human rights are universally respected.”


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